Area basketball teams start stretch runs toward playoffs
The area boys basketball scene is in its stretch run and Cass Lake-Bena is in a battle with Fosston for bragging rights in the 8A East playoff seeding.
The Panthers improved to 16-3 last week with three victories. Fosston is on CL-B’s heels, however, with a 15-4 record.
Cass Lake-Bena is 8-1 against section opponents and has a QRF point total of 72.4.Fosston has an 8-2 record against section foes and has a QRF rating of 60.9.
Red Lake is 10-3 against section teams has a 55.0 QRF point total and Blackduck rounds out the top four Section 8A teams, according to the QRF, with an 8-4 section record and a 44.3 QRF.
During the past week Cass Lake-Bena downed Nevis 63-50, Clearbrook-Gonvick 95-45 and Laporte 96-35.
“Heading into the Nevis game we knew we needed to get back to basics and work the ball down low to our big guys,” said CL-B coach Brian Michaelson. “Jordan Collins got the first bucket and Caleb Fisher followed with a basket and we got our flow going.”
Nevis stayed with the Panthers, however, and trailed only 26-25 at intermission.
In the second half Cass Lake-Bena drained a trio of 3-pointers and converting 14 of their 16 free throws helped the Panthers maintain the lead.
“I was happy with our defense as we kept Nevis to 50 points and we controlled the boards,” Michaelson said.
Fisher finished with 23 points, Collins had 12 points and 11 rebounds, Dakotah Brunelle grabbed 10 boards, Jake Ellis had 11 rebounds and Cody Wind 10 points.
In the win over Clearbrook-Gonvick Ellis had 28 points and Brunelle 20. Versell Beaulieu had 25 for the Bears.
Cass Lake-Bena hosts Red Lake County Tuesday, visits Blackduck Thursday and entertains Fond du Lac Saturday.
Kelliher-Northome improved to 10-8 last week after dumping Lake of the Woods 66-34 and losing to Red Lake 77-76 in overtime.
Laporte fell to 1-11 after losing to Cass Lake-Bena but Red Lake improved to 13-8 after its win over K-N. The Warriors host Walker-Hackensack-Akeley Thursday, head to Pine River Friday and host Minnesota Transitions Saturday.
Blackduck won its only game last week, tripping Pine River 67-57, and takes an 11-8 record into Tuesday game against Lake of the Woods.
The Drakes also host Cass Lake-Bena Thursday and visit Nevis Friday.
Bagley extended its winning streak to five games with three victories last week. The Flyers thumped Win-E-Mac 85-61, downed Norman County West 66-53 and ripped Crookston 70-35.
Bagley (15-6) welcomed Lake Park-Audubon Monday and travels to Clearbrook-Gonvick Friday.
Clearbrook-Gonvick owns a slight QRF edge over Red Lake County Central for the top spot in Section 8A East. The Bears (16-5, 11-4 against section foes) have 64.6 QRF points while RLCC (15-6, 11-5) own 61.1.
Kelliher-Northome (11-9, 6-4) is fourth in the QRF rankings with 40 points while Cass Lake-Bena (6-16, 4-7) is sixth with 30.5, Red Lake (7-9, 5-3) is seventh with 29.4) and Blackduck (3-16, 2-9) is eighth with 22.8.
Last week Red Lake stopped Laporte 80-26 as Averi Holthusen had 16 points, Tatianna McClain 14, Jasmine Deegan 11 and Serena Graves 12.
The Warriors will close their regular season with home games Tuesday against K-N and Saturday against Minnesota Transitions.
K-N defeated Littlefork-BF 62-41 last week but lost 68-48 to Clearbrook-Gonvick. The Mustangs are at Red Lake Tuesday and at Cass Lake-Bena Friday.
Blackduck lost 51-23 to BGMR and 77-19 to Pine River. The Drakes will entertain Cass Lake-Bena Thursday and end the regular season with trips to Nevis on Friday and to Fosston on Feb. 21.
CL-B lost to Crosby-Ironton 59-38 and to Clearbrook-Gonvick 60-37 before spilling Laporte 55-32. The Panthers are at Blackduck Thursday and host K-N on Friday and Fond du Lac on Saturday.
Bagley edged Norman County West 48-42 and lost to Pine River 62-36 last week. The Flyers (10-12) host Lake Park-Audubon Tuesday and end the year with games at Park Rapids on Thursday, at Warroad on Saturday and at East Grand Forks on Monday.